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What are some of the biggest roadblocks to getting a job?

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Getting a job is never easy! Unless, that is, you are one of the few people in an industry where workers are always in demand. In a 2006 Workopolis survey, job seekers were asked the biggest challenge they face when job-hunting. More than half reported it was either finding a job with the right fit or one that matched their qualifications.
 
One-third (37%) said that, while there is an abundance of jobs, many are not in their industry. Another one-quarter (23%) said there were too many job postings, making it hard to find a job that fits well.
 
The job market is extremely competitive and there are many obstacles. The good news is that all of these challenges can be overcome. It just takes some creativity and innovation in your job search.
 
Here are some of the biggest roadblocks to getting a job, and some solutions for getting past them.
Lack of experience
The problem: Not having enough experience in the job market (or being perceived that way) is a roadblock that many young people face. It’s a “Catch 22.” How do you get a job without experience, and how do you get experience without a job?
 
The solution: Throughout our lives, we take part in many tasks and activities that we don’t recognize as providing valuable experience. But they do! Don’t shortchange yourself. Prepare a personal list of experiences with the corresponding skills you have acquired. You’ll be surprised how much you have to offer a potential employer.
 
If you feel you are lacking in some areas of relevant experience, look for opportunities to gain more experience. Think about internships, volunteer work, part-time work, summer work, temporary jobs, and job shadowing. To learn more, check out How can I get work experience if no one will hire me without work experience?
Age discrimination
The problem: Many strong candidates are overlooked in the job market, sometimes illegally, because of their age. In a society where youth and beauty are revered, it is no wonder that this kind of attitude spills over into hiring practices.
 
The solution: With the right attitude, you can overcome the “grey ceiling,” as it is called. Emphasize the benefits of your age to an employer. Older workers are usually free of child-raising responsibilities, more loyal, and able to offer more experience. You may also want to seek out employers that have a mature customer base, as you may have valuable insight into this market.
The right attitude
The problem: It is very easy to get discouraged in the job search. Approach your job search with skill and honesty, rather than defensiveness and aggression. Negativity can stop your job search dead in its tracks. An attitude of “what can you do for me?” will lead to a lot of rejection letters.
 
The solution: Emphasize what you can offer. Employers want people who believe in themselves, who want to work, and who have a positive attitude. If you are a person who “sees the glass as half empty,” it’s time to change your attitude!
Finding a good job fit
The problem: There is no foolproof way to ensure that a job is a perfect match for you. Job descriptions are often poorly written. Often, a job seeker must weed through too many unsuitable job postings.
 
The solution: There are many specialized job boards that can help you finding a good job fit. The more research you do, the better your chances of ending up where you want to be. Also, make sure you have a good, clear picture of yourself and your skills.
Proper planning
The problem: Without proper planning in your job search, you are as good as a car in the fog without headlights. You will end up somewhere, but you’ll have no idea where that is! It’s easy to simply send out resumés everywhere and hope someone calls, but this is not likely to get you the kind of position you want.
 
The solution: A job search plan is a flexible outline of what you are going to do to look for work and how you expect to do it. Proper planning is the key to ensuring your job search is moving in the right direction. It can also help you get a picture of the job you want. With planning, you can monitor the progress of your job search and figure out where you need to work harder.
Getting started
The problem: Sometimes just getting started can be a big roadblock. One common excuse is “I need a holiday first, so I can think more clearly.” Procrastination and lack of discipline are the enemies of the job search.
 
The solution: Dive in, feet first! Create a plan with the tasks you are going to get done each day. Do a little bit each day, incorporating as many different job search methods as possible. You’ll be amazed at just how much you can achieve by keeping at it. If you are having trouble knowing where to start in your job search, visit your local employment centre. They can point you in the right direction.
Getting recognized
The problem: Competition is severe in the job market. How do you make sure you get noticed? Keep in mind that, when looking for a job, you are a salesperson. YOU are the product you are selling!
 
The solution: If you don’t know what you have to offer, how are you supposed to sell it? What marketable skills do you have? What sets you apart from other job seekers? Why should an employer hire you? If you can answer these questions, then you understand your product. This sales strategy will make sure you get noticed.
Language
The problem: Not knowing a language is a big obstacle for many job seekers, especially new immigrants. In Canada, English or French is essential for daily life and finding a job. Either or both of these languages are an asset in some fields and are sometimes required by employers.
 
The solution: There may be no way easy way to overcome this roadblock, other than learning the language. In Canada, there are many ESL (English as a Second Language) courses available. Find and use all the services available to newcomers as soon as possible.


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